A truncated Oregon legislative session, kicked off in February using a one month shot clock as the meter for accomplishing the state’s business. Most of that business deals with repairing the state budget which, like most states, has been savaged by the economic downturn. The energy headline in this year’s session was the fate of the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program. The BETC was a target for media scrutiny before the legislative session with radio and press coverage focusing on high profile and large tax credits extended to large scale renewable projects in the state. NEEC took the position that energy efficiency has been and continues to be a non-controversial component of the BETC and supported continued unrestricted access for energy efficiency projects to the BETC. To that end, NEEC contracted with a governmental affairs firm, Strategies 360, to help make that case to key legislators and stakeholders. We are pleased that the Legislature is poised to deliver this legislative outcome. Some changes to the BETC will be made focusing mainly on large renewable projects. Energy efficiency will continue with unrestricted access to the credit. The battle, however, is not over. Current law has the BETC in sunset by mid 2011. One of NEEC’s top priority in the second half of 2010 and the 2011 legislative session is the extension of this sunset date.
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